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Southern Illinois tops Butler

February 18, 2007|From the Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — Southern Illinois' Jamaal Tatum won the personal battle with Butler's A.J. Graves -- and the bigger one too.

As two of the nation's premier mid-major guards went head-to-head, Tatum made the bigger shots and the key free throws Saturday to help the 16th-ranked Salukis pull off their first road win over a ranked opponent in more than three decades -- 68-64 over No. 13 Butler.

"Somebody had to lose today, and that's the way it went," Butler Coach Todd Lickliter said. "What you saw today were two teams that battled, two teams that made plays for 40 minutes."

Southern Illinois (23-5) simply made more when it mattered most, and Tatum was the primary reason. He finished with 20 points and made eight of 11 free throws to help the Salukis end Butler's 22-game home winning streak.

The Bulldogs (24-4) shot 40.9% from the field and 39.1% from three-point range.

Coupled with a defense that lived up to its No. 3 national ranking, the Salukis extended their winning streak to nine games and ended a road drought that dated to December 1975, when they upset No. 16 Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Playing through a stomach ailment that briefly forced him out of the game in the first half, Graves was one for eight from the field -- one for five on three-pointers -- and missed only his fifth free throw of the season in 118 attempts as he scored a season-low five points.

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